International students at Ryerson University are now paying between $28,000 and $35,000 to enter an undergraduate program — up to four times the amount charged to their domestic peers — according to the school’s board of governors budget report released in April.
While tuition fee increases were previously capped at five per cent annually for international students, this year they will go up from between 6.3 per cent to 26.5 per cent for incoming first-year students compared to the amount charged last school year.
At the high end of the scale, the cost of tuition for some international students has jumped to $35,000 in 2019, up from $27,675 last year. In contrast, an average domestic Ryerson student in the same academic situation is set to pay just $10,189 for tuition, down from $11,321 in 2018.
The Ted Rogers School of Management, which had 4,593 students in the 2017-18 school year, 604 of whom were registered as international, has also seen an increase in its tuition costs.
For first-year international students studying business in 2019, the cost is now approximately $30,000 — a more than $4,000 increase from the previous year; the same goes for architecture students, who have seen a 15.7 per cent increase in their tuition fees.
While there is no difference between the cost of tuition paid for international students studying business or architecture — both cost $30,000 for a first-year student — domestic students would only pay $8,402 and $9,551, respectively.
International students entering nursing this year will pay 10.4 per cent more year-over-year, $27,000 versus $24,453. All other program fees have risen 6.3 per cent, clocking in at $26,000 this academic year.
This fluctuation is due to Premier Doug Ford’s restructuring of the provincial budget that, in spite of the increase of international fees, has also provided a 10 per cent tuition cut for domestic students, regardless of their program.
Felipe Nagata, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, said that the rising cost of living in Toronto may make it impossible for students to live off loans alone, forcing many to find part-time jobs on the side to pay their bills.
According to a CBC report in June, some international students have begun working more than their Canadian student visa’s 20-hour-per-week cap allows, in order to pay for the rising cost of tuition and living expenses. Study permit holders who violate the cap on working hours risk deportation.
“It’s not a criminal act — people are simply trying to survive and the only way to do that is [to take a job with more hours],” Nagata said, noting that there have already been cases of students being deported for violating the study permit cap on hours worked.
“It’s very upsetting that we have people risking everything when they’ve already committed so much to pursuing an education.”
Nagata said that these cases will continue to multiply as tuition fees continue to rise in the coming years.
According to the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the number of international students in Canada has risen over the past three years.
In 2015, the total number of study permit holders in Canada was 219,210. Since then, that number has consistently increased by around 50,000 successful applicants per year, with 356,035 study permit holders being reported in 2018. In the first half of 2019, 147,635 student visas have been issued.